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Why Families Love Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing

Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing

Your Guide to Impression 5 Science Center

Good for: Ages 0-12+

I have fond memories of Impression 5’s big mouth sculpture from my childhood and now it’s so cool that my own kids are making the same memories at this wonderful children’s museum in downtown Lansing.

Impression 5 Big Face Mouth downtown lansing play
Impression 5’s Big Mouth

I’ll be honest with you, though. Impression 5 surprised me as an adult. I had no idea that I personally would have great experiences – just like I did in my youth So, what is so awesome about this place?

Our Favorite Things about Impression 5

Families love the many learning experiences, events, memberships, and playing spaces.

Impression 5 creates spaces where visitors can learn and be themselves. Each station is customized to be engaging for people in every phase of life. The result: Your toddler can have as much fun as their grandparents. They even build all exhibits in-house!

FLOW: A Water Experience: Explore the fluid dynamics with two stories of interactive water components. Build and test your own sailboat, power a giant flywheel, play with water jets, and more.

Impression 5 Downtown Lansing Flow a water exhibit
Water Room at Impression 5

SMASH: A Nuclear Adventure: Experience the wonder of nuclear science that explores atoms and their journeys of acceleration, collision, separation, and detection in simulated environments.

SPECTRUM: Explore the electromagnetic spectrum and compare different light sources, lenses, prisms and mirrors, and more. Be sure to strike a pose at the Shadow Wall.

CHEW ON THIS: Good dental hygiene takes on a new meaning with this larger-than-life mouth exhibit. Be sure to also visit the nearby SMART MART to discover how the food you eat affects your teeth with this interactive grocery store checkout activity.

impression 5 science center teeth chew on this exhibit kids downtown lansing
Brushing larger than life teeth at Impression 5

THROWING THINGS: Explore the world of kinetic and potential energy with this hands-on activity that allows you to perfect your pitching form and blast targets with an air cannon! Create an aerodynamic airplane to launch and hurl a tennis ball 40′ with a trebuchet.

Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing Throwing Things
Air Cannon and Rocket Launch at Impression 5

NANO: Immerse yourself in nanoscale science by playing with magnetic material, build a giant model of carbon molecules and compare levels of static energy.

BUILD ZONE: Put your hardhat on to take on engineering and building challenges. Magnetic tiles, blocks, panels, and more available here. How high can you build your tower?

POP: A Bubble Experience: Step into a full-size body bubble! Experiment with buoyancy and break down the molecular structure of a bubble.

MI NATURE: What does a naturalist do? Explore nature of course! Use your problem-solving skills to get a closer look at nature found right here in Michigan. Get a closer look at birds with our webcam and scoop up some pond water and magnify the amazing word within it.

Impression 5 MI Nature exhibit
MI Nature exhibit at Impression 5

PLANET WALK PLAZA: Don’t miss this outdoor exhibit that is part art installation, part place to contemplate the universe.

TRAVELING EXHIBITS: Discover something new on every visit! Each year you can expect either a new permanent exhibit or a unique traveling exhibit to explore with your family.

Experiences and Learning are So Much Fun at Impression 5 Science Center

For years Impression 5 has been teaching kids that learning about science is a blast! They prove this in their play options for the whole family and by the cool experiences they offer. Kids love making slime, doing experiments with lab equipment, and so much more.

Impression 5 Experiences

Camps: Summer and Spring Break day Labs during school breaks. Ages 5-14.

Positive Learning Programs: Sparking Science. Ages 2-4 with a caregiver. Fridays and select Saturdays; October – May.

First Impressions Room: Children ages 0-4 can roam, touch, crawl, climb, splash, read, create, and get to know science in a whole new way in a comfortable and supportive environment. 

impression 5 lansing indoor play areas
First Impressions Room at Impression 5

Sensory-Friendly: Select days each month are sensory-friendly. Explore select exhibits altered to reduce sounds, scents, and lighting stimuli. Guests can expect a limited building capacity, pop-up activity, and map designating the sensory experiences in each exhibit. 

Birthday Parties: Celebrate a birthday in one of the most fun backdrops. Private rooms to eat and open gifts are provided. Then, play in the science center and choose a science experiment for you and your party attendees.

Groups and Field Trips: Experience the fun of science with a customizable package. Contact Impression 5 for more information and to schedule.


Impression 5 does an amazing job of community engagement and offer a diverse calendar of events all year long.

Some family favorites include being a part of the Capitol City Film Fest, meeting book characters, members nights, and adopt-a-river where families can contribute to keeping Lansing beautiful. 

A Membership to Impression 5 Science Center is a Priceless Gift

I received an Impression 5 Family Membership at Christmas from my Mom a few years ago. This guide quickly became a yearly tradition because of how much we use it and the impact it has on her grandchildren.

If I had to pick, I think the BEST part of Impression 5 is the membership program. It pays for itself within 2 to 3 visits depending on the size of your family.

Impression 5 light room kids downtown lansing
Large Lite Brite pegs at Impression 5

Membership Benefits

There are days I have ample time to visit Impression 5, the kids are having a blast, and I can barely drag them out. But there are also days we only have about an hour to spend. This is when the membership comes in handy. No matter what’s happening on any given day, with the membership, I feel no pressure at the end to visit every station.

Have you ever had the feeling, “we WILL get our money’s worth even if we all leave here in tears?” Yeah, there’s none of that here when you have the card! All jokes aside – it is a great option if you and your family love visiting the science center more than once or twice a year.

Grandparents! Membership is a great gift for your kids and grandkids. You can name multiple adults and children. Bonus – with the enhanced and elemental options, they will be able to bring guests each visit.

Visitor Tips

When it comes to visiting, I both had to learn the hard way and be schooled by some veteran mommas. Try these tips for a good time had by all:

1) Make Your Visit Hands-Free. Strollers are allowed throughout the museum, but they do get in the way and make it hard to interact with your kids. Having a baby carrier and backpack is great.

I’ve noticed that when I bring in a coffee/drink I usually regret it. I’m constantly trying to figure out where to put it while helping one of my kiddos, hoping it doesn’t get knocked over or spill out of my hands.

2) Bring a Friend. I know it’s not always possible, but if you can, try to go with a friend, spouse, partner, etc. Having multiple hands helps when navigating this large space.

3) A Nursing Room is Available. If you prefer a quiet space to feed your little one, there is a nursing room next to the toddler area.

4) Birthday Parties Don’t Wait For Late Arrivals. Birthday parties run on strict schedules to accommodate all of the families who plan to celebrate. If you are invited to a birthday party, arrive on time so you don’t miss out on making slime and singing to that special kid.

5Groups Can Play After Hours. I recently discovered that we could after hours at Impression 5! These late evening workshops are perfect for classes, churches, scouts, or other groups of learners.

6) Bring Extra Clothes. Kids will get pretty wet playing in the water stations. It’s so nice to be able to let them play as long and hard as they like. After a splashing good time, you’ll have a fresh new shirt for them as you leave.

7) Save Some of the Best for Last. It doesn’t matter if we have the entire day or just an hour to spend; it is ALWAYS so hard to get the kids to leave. I now save the water exhibit or traveling exhibits till last. This is such a great incentive to make our way downstairs and out the door in a timely manner.

8) Refuel on the Second Floor. Vending machines are located on the second floor with places to sit, eat, and get back to playing!

Plan Your Visit

Impression 5 Science Center

200 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 485-8116


Adults & Children (ages 2+): $12

Seniors; Military Members + their immediate family: $10.50

Members, Children (ages 23 months and younger): FREE

Museum For All (up to 6 guests with valid ID and EBT, Medicaid or WIC card): $2

Prices valid as of 02/23/24.


Monday: Closed

Tuesday – Friday: 9:30 AM – 4 PM

Saturday: 9:30 AM – 5 PM

Sunday: 11:30 AM – 5 PM

Impression 5 is closed on the following days: New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 3 and 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and December 24 – 26.

Impression 5 metal marble track downtown lansing kids play

Membership Options

Family Membership: $100 – Some benefits include two named adults and children.

Enhanced Membership: $125 – Some benefits include two named adults, children, and bring one guest.

Elemental Membership: $150 – Some benefits include three named adults, children, and bring two guests.

Prices valid as of 02/23/24.

Reciprocal Benefits

Get into science centers and children’s museums all over the country for free or at a discounted rate with the ASTC and ACM reciprocal benefits card. Michigan options include – the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Michigan Science Center, and the Air Zoo.

Air Zoo Kalamazoo Kids

Carla Brooks

Carla is Oregon born, Michigan raised, so it comes as no surprise she's an avid adventurer in all things nature and water fun. She's passionate about storytelling and the power it has to engage the community, give voice to the teller, and invoke a call to action. She is a proud Mexican-American woman who loves to travel (while eating and cooking delicious foods from around the globe), is grateful for her daily yoga practice, and garners much joy from spending time with friends and family. Life is ripe with story and she is always working to capture the magic wherever she goes, so don’t be surprised if you catch her jotting notes with a camera in hand.

Set your sails

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